The Strokes - 'Angles' Album Review

  • Original publication date: 15 March 2011

Angles  is The Strokes at their most democratic

Angles is The Strokes at their most democratic

Five years after their last message to the world (2006's First Impressions Of Earth), a lot has happened in Strokes country. All but one of them worked on solo projects, and attempts to reunite in the studio in 2009 were fractured and shambolic. Despite these diversions, they have returned to us in March 2011 with their fourth output, Angles.

For the first time, The Strokes have recorded an album democratically, allowing all five of them to contribute to the band's most schizophrenic, experimental and ambitious album, after lead singer Julian Casablancas steered the ship entirely through their breakout successes. Now, like it or not, the band has definitely morphed their sound, grown up but yet still kept much of their identity: beautifully intertwined guitarwork and a moody, iconic frontman, veering between nonchalant, rebellious and enraged without a moment's notice.

Everybody's Been Singing The Same Song For Ten Years

Due to input from all 'angles' (where the album gets its name from), it's often a lucky packet at times, but many of the bolder statements tend to grow on you. Standout tracks have to be the first single 'Under Cover Of Darkness' (which retains much of the swagger of the Is This It era, but adds backing vocals and a higher singing range for Julian), 'Two Kinds Of Happiness' & 'Taken For A Fool' (the melodic grandeur of playful, catchy 80's-style choruses, interesting rhythms and intricate dual-guitarwork) and the skittish defiant confusion and rage that is 'You're So Right'.

Others, like the shimmering 80's electropop chill of 'Games' (which sounds like an outtake of Julian's solo album) and the intriguing percussion-less tango of 'Call Me Back' definitely need a few listens to get into. But the feel-good vibes of 'Gratisfaction' show the band not as the cool, us-against-the-world garage-rock gang of the past, but as a group of musicians not afraid to be open, have some fun and not take themselves too seriously.

With any fledgling democracy, it takes time for things to settle down and move on. And this sums up Angles exactly - give it a chance.

Tracklisting:

  1. Machu Picchu
  2. Under Cover of Darkness
  3. Two Kinds of Happiness
  4. You're So Right
  5. Taken for a Fool
  6. Games
  7. Call Me Back
  8. Gratisfaction
  9. Metabolism
  10. Life Is Simple in the Moonlight 

Release date: 18 March 2011